COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON OPERA in collaboration with the CHARLESTON SYMPHONY present
THE TALES OF HOFFMANN by Jacques Offenbach
Feb. 24 • 7:30pm | Feb. 26 • 2:00pm
College of Charleston Sottile Theatre
PROLOGUE: A tavern somewhere
ACT I: Spalanzani’s Workshop
ACT II: Giulietta’s party at the wharf
ACT III: The Asylum
EPILOGUE: Somewhere in Hoffmann’s mind
The Tales of Hoffmann is an extraordinary tale centered on the tortured poet, Hoffmann. His turmoiled story is told by the enactment of three separate tales portraying three fictitious loves. His journey ranges from the whimsical to the supernatural and the amorous to the tragic. In the prologue, we are introduced to the Muse. This celestial being chooses to become a human named Nicklausse, to guide Hoffmann on his journey. The act establishes Hoffmann as an unstable, alcohol-abusing, schizophrenic artist who has difficulty discerning between fantasy and reality. It begins with a rousing tavern song complete with a re-enactment of his fictitious character, Kleinzach. This prologue sets the stage for three subsequent acts with stories told by Hoffmann of his three loves, Olympia, Giulietta, and Antonia. These three ladies each represent a different facet of his “real” love, a woman named Stella. The first Act, Olympia, is Hoffmann’s immature and naïve love, who is, in reality, a robot created by her master, Spalanzani. She was created with parts provided by the salesman and con artist, Coppélius. Next is Giulietta, Hoffmann’s infatuated love. She does Dapertutto’s bidding by securing Hoffmann’s reflection or more sinisterly, his soul. Antonia personifies Hoffmann’s true love, the one he wants to marry. He has searched for her with his friend and companion, Nicklausse, for six months only to finally locate her in an asylum where she was placed by her father. Antonia is being “treated” by Dr. Miracle, whose supernatural powers are apparent. He conjures the ghost of Antonia’s mother who convinces Antonia to sing to her death, just as Dr. Miracle convinced her to do. It’s important to note that, just as Stella is represented in three different manifestations, so is his rival, Lindorff. He is personified as the protagonist in each story Coppélius, Dapertutto, and Dr. Miracle, who are all working to deny him of his love. In the epilogue, we then return to the tavern, but it is now incomplete, representing Hoffmann’s disconnect from reality. After another drinking binge, he wakes to the memories in his mind, including the passing of his loves. This realization finally breaks him.
Director: Saundra DeAthos-Meers
Conductor/Music Director: Wojciech Milewski
Scenic/Lighting/Projections Designer: Daniel Chapman
Costume Designer: Savannah Blake
Choreographer: Glenna Durbin
Technical Director: Evie Palmisano
Stage Manager: Becca McLeod
Seth Younglove | Hoffmann
Meleana Cabales | The Muse/Nicklausse
Andy Michota | Luther
Justin Floyd | Lindorf, Dr. Miracle
Delaney Faile | Andreas, Cochenille
Molly O’Connor | Nathanaël
Kathryne Matsui | Hermann
Vincent Bolchoz | Spalanzani
Lauren Funkhouser | Olympia (2/24)
Caroline Brown | Olympia (2/26)
Logan Smith | Coppélius, Dapertutto
Chloe Henderson | Giulietta
Ben Hudd | Schlémihl
Jonathan Gragg | Pitichinaccio, Franz
Abigail Erin Oldstrom | Antonia (2/24)
Hälis Rünk | Antonia (2/26)
Jimmy Cyganek | Crespel
Queen Hamilton | Mother of Antonia
Adeleine Dibble | waiter, ensemble
Maralin Russell | waiter, ensemble
Brianna Lombino | ensemble
Josh Brock | ensemble
John White | ensemble
Glenna Durbin | dancer
Wojciech Milewski, Conductor
Katherine St. John
Director of Opera Program: Saundra DeAthos-Meers
Assistant Director of Opera Program: Amanda Castellone
Music Director & Coach: Wojciech Milewski
Rehearsal Pianists: Lorna Barker, Misha Pekar
Assistant Stage Managers: Bambi Barr, Eli Orlandi
Wardrobe Crew: Katie Burns, Sophie Bright, Jamiyah Witherspoon
Make-up: Max Meers
Set Construction: Small Scale Contractors
Props: Allison Jones
Supertitles: Saundra DeAthos-Meers; Supertitles Operator: Misha Pekar
Director’s Note: Why tackle Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann with an undergraduate program, you may ask? This opera checks so many of the boxes required for an educational program. It has a large number and variety of roles to cast, it is sung French, and the fact that it is a devised work means it can be modified and edited to suit our strengths and limitations. I call myself lucky to have such a talented pool of young singers, specifically undergraduates ranging from freshmen to seniors of all levels of ability, who can handle these roles of varying difficulty. This opera gives an opportunity to every student in the program to work on their French diction, acting skills, following a conductor, and to sing with a professional orchestra, the Charleston Symphony. The valuable perk of working alongside professional musicians is typically not available to students at an institution the size of CofC. Our The Tales of Hoffmann journey began last fall with music rehearsals and then continued staging after the winter break, so this process is yearlong. The students’ commitment to their craft and to this art form is unprecedented, an unusual quality I cherish in artists their age. CofC Opera is also fortunate to continue its relationship with the Department of Theatre and Dance, as several of our cast, production team and designers collaborated with us for this performance. I hope you enjoy our foray into the fantastical and surreal world of Offenbach’s masterpiece.
Special Thanks: Dr. Lorna Barker, Charleston Opera Theater, Sottile Theatre staff, Charleston Symphony
Bambi Barr (Assistant Stage Manager) is a senior at the College of Charleston. They were last seen Stage Managing the fall cance concert Shifting Perspectives.
Vincent Bolchoz (Spalanzani) is newly transferred student majoring in Music (Vocal Performance). This will be his first college opera, having arrived at CofC in August. Vincent spent several years in South Florida attending the Maltz Jupiter Theatre Professional Training Program and performing in multiple touring shows at the Maltz. He was most recently in the chorus for Charleston Opera Theater’s performance of Don Giovanni.
Joshua Brock (ensemble) is a young CofC alum from Iva, SC, and has been studying under David Templeton for 5 years.
Caroline Brown (Olympia) is a junior, a part of the Honors College, and is a Psychology major with minors in Music (Vocal Performance) and Spanish. This is her first mainstage opera performance. Some of her recent appearances include: College of Charleston’s Fall Opera Scenes Program, What If?, The Charleston Symphony Masterworks and Holiday Pops Concerts. She can also be seen performing regularly in the Chamber Choir at Saint John the Baptist Church.
Meleana Cabales (The Muse/Nicklausse) is a junior in the Honors College majoring in Music (Voice) and minoring in Arts Management. Her recent performances include Charleston Opera Theater’s Don Giovanni (Chorus, 2022) as well as College of Charleston Opera’s The Magic Flute (Second Lady, 2021) and Le Nozze di Figaro (Chorus, 2020). This summer Meleana will cover the role of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at the Chicago Summer Opera.
Daniel B. Chapman (Set/Lighting/Projections Designer) came to Montana Western as an Associate Professor of Theater after more than 20 years working as a designer in live entertainment. He is a member of United Scenic Artists (Lighting Design and Projection Design) and in addition to design he has worked extensively as a production manager and technical director. He is the author of Motion (http://cue.lighting) and Light Assistant (http://lightassistant.com). He received his MFA in Lighting Design from Carnegie Mellon and his BA from The University of New Mexico. He is an Associate Professor of Theater at University of Montana Western and has taught previously at Western Illinois University and Berea College. Upcoming Productions: Opera Southwest: Turandot, Dayton Opera: Das Rheingold, Opera Cultura: Zorro. His recent design credits include: Opera Santa Barbara for Madama Butterfly. New York: On the Verge, Restoration Comedy, Construction of the Human Heart, (The Acting Company) Of Mice and Men, Damascus; Summer Theater of New Canaan: West Side Story, Legally Blonde, Hairspray, Twelfth Night; Guerilla Opera: Beowulf, Troubled Water, Pedr Solis, No Exit; Opera Southwest: Zorro, Frida, Pelléas et Mélisande, L’inganno felice, Ali Baba, Norma, Bless Me Ultima, Guillaume Tell, Pagliacci, Tancredi, Il Turco in Italia, Aida, La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, Il barbiere di Siviglia; Ash Lawn Opera: Susannah; Chicago: Cymbeline, Lifeboat, The Snow Queen; New Mexico Ballet: Alice in Wonderland, Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin, The Wizard of Oz
Jimmy Cyganek (Crespel) is a sophomore in the Honors College and enjoys the adventure of living in La Maison Français (The French House) this year. He keeps busy as an Honors Engaged Project Mentor for the Green Heart Project while double majoring in Vocal Performance and Computing in the Arts. He’s also a Baritone in the choir of downtown’s historic French Huguenot Church and recently joined the Chucktown Trippintones, C of C’s oldest acapella group. Recent performances include College of Charleston Opera’s What If?, Charleston Opera Theater’s Don Giovanni and Serenata Italiana. He enjoyed portraying Osmin in C of C’s Children Opera production of The Billy Goats Gruff at many Lowcountry schools and Piccolo Spoleto last May and is looking forward to another villainous turn as Mr. Big Bad in this spring’s production of Little Red’sMost Unusual Day.
Saundra DeAthos (Director and Producer) As Director of Opera at the College of Charleston, she directed and/or produced several operas since her arrival in 2018. These operas include The Dialogues of the Carmelites, La voix humaine, Gianni Schicchi, Le Nozze di Figaro, and in 2022, Die Zauberflöte in collaboration with the Charleston Symphony and the Department of Theatre and Dance. She is also the Administrative Director of Charleston Opera Theater where she also had the opportunity to perform her first Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni.
Adeleine Dibble (server/ensemble) is a freshman and is ecstatic to be in her first ever opera at the College of Charleston!
Glenna Durbin (dancer) is senior double majoring in Theatre (Performance) and History & minoring in Dance. She was last seen as Mary Bennet in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberly and will perform next in the spring dance concert, Becoming We. She has appeared on the Mainstage seven times and is very excited for her first opera!
Delaney Faile (Andres/Cochenille) is a sophomore double majoring in Arts Management and Theatre. Recent credits include Ensemble/Dance Captain in Violet (CofC Department of Theatre and Dance), Jen in The Cake (Center Stage), and Cora in The Approach (Spoleto Festival USA). She also works as a stage manager with local theatre company Footlight Players.
Justin Floyd (Lindorff/Dr. Miracle) is in his fourth year at the College of Charleston and is majoring in Music. He has been in the last few College of Charleston Opera productions, including Gianni Schicchi, The Marriage of Figaro, as well as playing the Speaker of the House/First Priest in The Magic Flute.
Lauren Funkhouser (Olympia) is a sophomore at the College of Charleston majoring in Vocal Performance. Last year, Lauren performed the Queen of the Night in CofC’s production of The Magic Flute. Lauren has also studied the roles of Tatyana with Russian Opera Workshop’s production of Eugene Onegin and die Königin der Nacht in Berlin Opera Academy’s production of Die Zauberflöte. Last summer, she attended Music Academy of the West as a studio artist and performed Papagena in Die Zauberflöte with Berlin Opera Academy.
Jonathan Gragg (Pitichinaccio/Franz) is a junior majoring in Music (Vocal Performance). He has been part of various productions before, including CofC Opera’s The Magic Flute. He is excited to return to the stage in his second full scale opera.
Queen Hamilton, II (The Voice of the Mother) is a junior majoring in Music (Composition). She has recently been seen in College of Charleston’s Opera scenes program, What If?. She was also seen in, In Other Words, directed by Todd McNerney in 2021.
Ben Hudd (Schlémihl) is a sophomore Theatre major. The Tales of Hoffmann is his first opera at CofC, and he most recently played the role of Arthur De Bourgh in Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberly with the Department of Theatre and Dance.
Brianna Lombino (ensemble) is so excited to join the College of Charleston as a chorus member. She has performed in numerous operas, musicals, and concerts with such companies as Syracuse Opera, Syracuse Symphony, Syracuse University Oratorio Society, Syracuse University Opera, Concordia Chorale, Algonquin Theater, Premier Theater, King’s Counterpoint, and Charleston Symphony. She currently lives in Daniel Island with her family as a music teacher and cantor for Saint Clare of Assisi.
Kathryne Matsui (Hermann/ensemble) is a junior Honors College student majoring in Music (Vocal Performance). In high school, Kathryne performed in various concerts at the Governor’s School for the Arts in Greenville. In her time at the College of Charleston, she played one of the Third Spirit in the 2022 production of The Magic Flute, sang in the chorus of Le Nozze di Figaro, and has been in the Children’s Opera. In this past year, Kathryne also performed as a chorus member in Charleston Opera Theatre’s production of Don Giovanni.
Rebecca McLeod (Stage Manager) is thrilled at the opportunity to stage manage with CofC Opera! She is a recent graduate who has worked professionally with PURE Theatre and CofC Stages on a variety of shows, including the world premiere of A Hidden Life written and directed by Randy Neale.
Wojciech Milewski (Conductor/Music Director) is an emerging operatic and orchestral conductor. He is the recipient of the 2019 Henderson Symphony Orchestra Harold Farberman Prize and was a finalist in the 2019 Los Angeles Conducting Competition. Serving as Music Director of Charleston Opera Theater, Wojciech is also in his seventh season as the Music Director of the Summerville Orchestra. As a conductor, Wojciech seeks to create lively, interactive, and multi-sensory concert experiences, fostering community development, audience engagement and inclusion. Prior to his appointment in Summerville, he served as Music Director for the world premiere of Joe Illick’s UnShakeable with the Santa Fe Opera in 2016, as well as several of their educational tours. Further operatic appointments saw him serve as Assistant Conductor at the Opera NEO festival in San Diego, CA, and as Associate Conductor for El Paso Opera’s 2016 production of Carmen. Off of the podium he maintains an active performing career as a pianist and clarinetist. He serves as a staff accompanist and vocal coach for the opera program at the College of Charleston. He has also performed with Opera Southwest, the New Mexico Symphonic Chorus, the San Juan Symphony, and the National Broadway Tours of Wicked and Book of Mormon. As a clarinetist, he is a current member of the Charleston Wind Symphony and previously held the Clarinet 2 seat with the Roswell Symphony (NM). Wojciech is an alumnus of the University of New Mexico and the State University of New York at Oswego, and currently lives in Summerville with his dog Remy.
Molly O’Connor (Nathanaël/ensemble) is a junior majoring in Music (Vocal Performance). Molly performed in the College of Charleston Opera production of The Magic Flute as the First Spirit. She has previously been a part of the cast of Children’s Opera productions of Three Little Pigs, The Billy Goats Gruff, and will soon perform in Little Red’s Most Unusual Day. Molly has also been in the ensemble in Charleston Opera Theater’s productions of Serenata Italiana, Don Giovanni, and the upcoming production of Grande Serenata in March.
Eli Orlandi (Assistant Stage Manager) is an alumnus of the college with a degree in Theatre. This is their first mainstage production as Assistant Stage Manager.
Erin Oldstrom (Antonia) is an Artist in Residence with the College of Charleston Music Department. She made her professional debut in October of 2022 as Zerlina in Charleston Opera Theater’s Don Giovanni. Her previous credits with College of Charleston Opera include The First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi.
Hälis Rünk (Antonia) is a Post-Baccalaureate Artist in Residence at the College of Charleston. Originally from Rakvere, Estonia, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and has participated in musical projects and exchange programs in Madeira (Portugal), Verona (Italy) and Stockholm (Sweden). She is currently an active performer with Charleston Opera Theater and will be performing in their upcoming Grande Serenata on March 17 in the Sottile Theatre.
Maralin Russell (server/ensemble) is a freshman at College of Charleston, majoring in Vocal Performance. The Tales of Hoffmann is their first production here at CofC. They are looking forward to the upcoming children’s opera, Little Red’s Most Unusual Day, and can’t wait to see where opera takes them.
Logan Smith (Coppélius/Dapertutto) is a senior at the College of Charleston. This year I’m honored to be singing with this amazing cast. This production has brought me so far, I’m ready to tackle the next. Thank you everyone for your support.
John White (Ensemble) A recent emigré from Washington, D.C, John, a tenor, has sung in more than two dozen opera productions, specializing in buffo roles. He sang with the National Symphony Orchestra in D.C., and now with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Seth Younglove (Hoffmann) is a recent alumnus of the College of Charleston and is currently in his first year as an Artist in Residence. Some of his previous work with CofC Opera includes Die Zauberflöte (Tamino), Gianni Schicchi (Marco), and Le Nozze di Figaro (Don Curzio). His most recent performance was with Charleston Opera Theater in their production of Don Giovanni.
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